Parts of New Orleans, a city built in a saucer, became lakes Monday night as a violent rainstorm swept in, resulting in at least five deaths. In addition, thousands of motorists were stranded, the airport was temporarily closed and countless houses in the city and suburbs were flooded.
As much as 19 inches of rain fell on some neighborhoods in just seven or eight hours, accompanied by a barrage of lightning and thunder, lighting up the sky and turning the landscape into the semblance of a battle scene as trees crashed into houses and cars bounced along in the fast currents of the floodwaters.
Some motorists who abandoned their cars as the waters rose around them were forced to swim to safety.
The flooding caused four deaths by drowning, while one resulted from a heart attack. During the height of the storm, 50,000 people in the city were without electricity.